The U.S. Dept of Education and the Federal Communications Commission have recently launched significant ed tech initiatives, highlighting a shift in their roles from funders to facilitators. The FCC announced its Internet Essentials program which gives families of students who receive free school lunch access to broadband Internet service for $9.95 a month, before taxes. I was even more pleased to read that Internet Essentials will also provide families with a voucher to purchase a computer for $149.99 as well as offer free digital literacy training. So, the offer not only provides access but the tool to get access and the knowledge to use it wisely. Let’s see if these opportunities are well used.
Arne Duncan launched the Digital Promise center, a congressionally authorized clearinghouse dedicated to identifying, supporting, and publicizing the most effective education technology innovations. I found the site not terribly usable (in terms of design) but I did scroll through a couple of the ideas and discussions which seemed interesting enough. The center is definitely one to watch. To read an EdWeek article on these two initiatives, click here.